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niftypkg 08-16-2002 10:29 AM

Winterizing Tips
Its 98 degrees outside and the humitity is around 75%. Think I will winterize my 71' 27' Int.!! I did a search and didn't find any complete info on winterizing. Air pressure/ anti-freez?? Or the A/S way. Tilt the trailer?? Tanks etc. Any suggestions?? The previous owner used the anti-freeze. Anybody used the by-pass line on the original water-heaters??:cool:

InsideOut 08-16-2002 12:33 PM

You probably didn't find any info beause this Forum has only been around since February...we haven't gone through "winterizing season" yet.

Although, being an opinionated lot...I'm sure there will lots of discussion come fall.



davidz71 08-16-2002 12:50 PM

I pump all water out of the lines and drain the tanks. I follow the Airstream manual and do the tilting forward and backward while the water lines are draining through my rear valves. Next, I blow the lines out both through my hose reel and the city water filler at the back of the trailer. I then drain the water heater and shut the valves on the bypass to isolate the water heater. I put 6-8 gallons of RV antifreeze in the fresh water and run the pump from one faucet at a time into a gallon jug. Each time the jug fills up, I put it back into the fresh water tank. When all faucets (including shower) flow a rich pink color, I know that the lines are winterized as well as the pump. I then open my water heater and allow some antifreeze into the tank then shut it off. Last, I run some of the antifreeze from each faucet into the drain traps and some into the grey water tank. I pour a gallon from a faucet into the black water tank. That worked for me last year. I had planned on saving the antifreeze this year and using it for another year but decided not to.

niftypkg 08-16-2002 03:14 PM

Sounds like you do a thorough job Davidz. I assume that the hose you are talking about is the fresh water garden hose to city water? Can't find a drain from the water heater. Two drain valves next to the dump valve. Could it be one of those??:cool:

83Excella 08-16-2002 04:27 PM

Nifty, You can just drain your hot water tank instead of filling with anti-freeze, some water will remain but will not do any harm over the winter. If you dont have a bypass kit installed now is a good time to think about installing one. Then in the spring when I flush out the water system I leave the drain plug out of the water heater a while to clean the junk out of the tank. I also check the water lines for leaks at this time just in case.

AS service and some owners manuals have procedures in them. There are a few ways to do it some use a combination of 2 or more, I have an instruction sheet I will post as old man winter draws near.


davidz71 08-16-2002 07:02 PM

1 Attachment(s)
My Excella 500 had an option listed in the original brochure but which I have not seen on this forum yet. It consists of 2 spring loaded reels, one on the left with a 25' white water hose and one on the right with a power cord having a 30 amp plug on the end. You will see that the cover can be latched with both hose and power cord pulled out of the trailer.

The 2 valves you mentioned do indeed drain your lines.
That is why Airstream says tilt the trailer front to rear and vice versa. I can drain the water heater and leave it empty but worry about not getting all water out and something freezing.

83Excella 08-16-2002 09:40 PM

Reel option
I saw a picture the other day of the reel system in another trailer, very cool idea, I'm surprised you dont see it in wide use today.


davidz71 08-16-2002 09:57 PM

I have seen electric reels for RVs advertised and it sounds like a great idea as long as the brushes on the inside of the reel do not wear out. I don't understand why Airstream put a hose reel in when they also have the city water fill a few feet more toward the rear of the trailer.

john hd 08-16-2002 10:14 PM

here is what i do for a wisconsin winter:

drive it to florida! just kidding!

i made a adaptor for my quick connector on my air compressor that goes into the city water inlet. i charge my air compressor to 40 psi then shut it off.

after hooking it up, i start at the kitchen and work back opening all of the faucets untill no water remains. then i open the floor drains and let the tank of air run out. this gets 99% of the water out of the system.

i remove the water pick up line from the pump and replace it with 3 feet of 3/4" clear tubing that goes into 4 or 5 gallon bottles of rv antifreeze. this completely fills the system with antifreeze. (hot water heater bypassed and plug removed)

then one half gallon of anti freeze down each drain trap. and a little in the toilet.

this method has survived -30 deg temps with no damage.

a couple of things not to forget, the sprinkler head for the toilet.
the outside water outlet, and the under sink water filter.(i bag it in a ziplock and bring it inside) and drain the fresh water tank.


83Excella 08-16-2002 10:24 PM

I thought the reel hose was to hook up to city water? you can use the hose like at your house to water the flowers when there is no city water? and the electric is it just like an extension cord?


niftypkg 08-17-2002 04:05 PM

Sure got a lot of help on this one! Like your idea about going to Florida. I do go to SPI Texas every year, this time without my Lab Skipper. He was 14. Looked at my WH. Turns out it is made by Bowen, original?? With Robertshaw Controls. I have a suspicion that the tank part may have been replaced. I see splices on the water lines. I do see a 3/4 " black iron plug at the lower left of the unit behind the hatch cover with a brass plug in that. That must be the drain. Don't know how I'll get that out to drain the tank.:cool:

jcanavera 08-18-2002 11:03 PM

You will get different opinions on this one. My dealer blows out the lines and drains the water heater. He notes that he can do it with high pressure and guarantees that no water will be left in the lines. Unless you have high pressure you cannot positively get the lines devoid of all water.

Some folks do the blow out with low pressure air pumps. I do this but I also follow up with RV-antifreeze in the lines. How you get this into the lines differs. One person says the only way is to feed antifreeze directly to the water pump. On many Airstream trailers you can disconnect the fresh water tank hose from the pump and pump from your bottle of antifreeze.

Others put antifreeze in the fresh water tank and turn on the water pump, thus pumping antifreeze thoughout the system. Two issues with this method. First some fresh water tanks hold a residule amount of water in them and can't be drained completely. This means that your antifreeze will be diluted and won't provide you the protection as noted on the bottle. Second issue is that I was told that fresh water tanks are not completely smooth inside. Trying to rinse antifreeze from them is extremely difficult.

My Safari has no access to the pump without cutting either an access panel in a closet, or I have to cut the wood molding trim which would allow me to remove a panel below the closet. At this point I'm not gung ho in doing either so I put the antifreeze into the fresh water tank. In my case I don't camp at campgrounds without water hookups so that water tank is dry when I pour in the antifreeze.

Note that you may have a low drain valve on your hot and cold water lines. Open these as you pump air through your system. On my Safari these are located on the curb side between the tandem axles. Drain the hot water tank by removing the tank drain plug. If you have bypass valves be sure you turn them into the winterize mode. Note that when I blow out the lines, I have the valves set into their normal summer positions while the hot water tank is draining. One the tank is drained I turn the valves to the winter position and continue blowing out the lines. This gets all the water out.

Don't forget to get some antifreeze into the drains. You will notice that when you first start pumping antifreeze through the system some fresh water may be displaced. Its always safe to dump some in the drains after you are done pumping antifreeze through the system, just to be sure that no water remains in the traps.

One last thing I do, even though this is a little nasty, I place a bucket under the dump valve and make sure both the black and grey tanks are empty. Even though I do the dump at my last camping trip of the year, water will still collect down by the valve once I get the trailer home. Also note that the grey water will have the water and some antifreeze collected as you pump out the lines.

That just about wraps it up. 20 plus years with temps down as low as 18 below. No problems with line freezes. Take your time and do it right. I normally can easily do my 27' Safari with 3 gallons (2 would be fine but I'm generous in running the antifreeze through the lines).

Gook luck.


tomb 08-19-2002 08:35 AM

don't forget to drain waterfilter under sink if ya have one..and if you use anitfreeze to remove filter..I have installed a cut off here to keep antifreeze out......

niftypkg 08-19-2002 07:10 PM

jcanevere, Thanks for your input. My trailer is a plumbers night mare!! Valves all over the place!! I do have valves under the sink to drain the hot and cold lines and the tank and I can disconnect the pump to pump anti freeze. Tanks again.:cool:

Charles Q Treichel 09-15-2002 09:22 PM

After suffering some broken copper lines, I replaced mine with semirigid red plastic tubing and CPI plastic fitting. I have a feeling that at least the tubing would sustain freezing. Does anybody know?
Is is possible to purge the system of water by blowing it all back through the drain valve of the water heater starting perhaps at the pump?

Antique Pedaler 09-15-2002 09:31 PM

Can't say much for other's winterizing methods, but a steady stream of compressed air has worked for me on our '99 Safari 27. Called the factory first and they said blowing out the system with compressed air was all I needed to do. So I've done that the past two winters with no problems. I do drop a cup of antifreeze down the drainsl, however.

JW84345 09-15-2002 09:43 PM

Air pressure for winterizing

I do not know what the red tubing is, but I would not rely on any type of tubing to resist cracking or other damage due to freezing. It is best to winterize and doing so with air pressure is fine. It is important to get all the water out. I use about a gallon of antifreeze through the pump and down the traps. I then blow out the lines, taking time to make sure no water comes out of any of the faucetts. I leave valves and faucetts open while in storage. I have no problems through Michigan winters for the past 7 years. See the thread "Forums > Airstream Restoration, Repair & Parts Forums > General Repair Forum > Air pressure for winterizing" and search on winterize to get more info.


jcanavera 09-15-2002 10:26 PM

My local dealer had a seminar on winterizing at a rally last year. They state that blowing out the lines is sufficient....provided that you do it with enough air pressure to really blow it out. They advised that 12 volt compressors will not generate enough force to really blow out the system. In this case they advised following up with RV antifreeze.

I've done the blow out with my 12 volt compressor followed by pumping antifreeze through the system. It works for me and I've had no frozen lines in over 25 years of winterizing. One thing to remember is to take care of the drain traps. I normally reverse my shop vac to blow out the traps. Then I add some antifreeze to boot.


Antique Pedaler 09-16-2002 07:13 PM

Oh yes......all the lines are plastic.

davidz71 09-17-2002 10:51 AM

I normally just poor antifreeze in the traps but I never thought about blowing the traps out with the shop vac. Great idea. Thanks.

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